China Drops GDP Target, Europe Bread Line, U.K. Deficit: Eco Day

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(Bloomberg) -- Welcome to Friday, Europe. Here’s the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help get you through to the weekend:

  • The Chinese government abandoned its decades-long practice of setting an annual target for economic growth amid the storm of uncertainty unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic, and said it would continue to increase stimulus
    • Bloomberg Economics says abandoning the decades-long tradition relieves the government of the straight jacket the annual target placed on economic policy
    • China also reiterated a pledge to implement the first phase of its trade deal with the U.S. despite setbacks from the coronavirus outbreak, and as tensions escalate between the world’s two biggest economies
  • The Bank of Japan launched a new lending program worth 30 trillion yen ($279 billion) to support small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus but held off from adding major stimulus at an emergency meeting Friday. That came as a key inflation gauge slid below zero in April for the first time in more than three years
  • Europe’s food banks are seeing higher demand from professionals, self-employed -- a sign that the region’s relatively comprehensive safety nets are fraying
  • Two of Europe’s most cash-strapped countries are stepping up bond sales to fund the surge in spending needed to shore up their pandemic-battered economies
  • Britain posted a record budget deficit in April as the government unleashed an unprecedented package to prevent the collapse of the virus-stricken economy

  • For decades, the U.S. jobless-claims report has provided a straightforward, routine read on the labor market every Thursday. Now it carries a variety of asterisks
  • India’s central bank cut interest rates in an unscheduled announcement on Friday, ramping up support for an economy it expects will contract for the first time in more than four decades

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